Susan L. French Emerging Leader Fellowship Program


Susan French Koran 2009-2010The Susan L. French Emerging Leader Fellowship Program was originally established by GLJ Benefit Consultants in memory of former ALA President Susan L. French. Susan’s commitment to professionalism, dedication to the advancement of law firm administration, development of future leaders and record of long-term service to ALA is truly the foundation of this program.

In 2019, the fellowship program was developed to assist up to two ALA members annually who have a strong desire to enhance their personal and professional leadership skills. The first year of this two-year fellowship program provides a registration and travel stipend to ALA’s Chapter Leadership Institute; a personalized series of leadership-focused coaching sessions with Judy Hissong, CLM, PCC, a distinguished leadership consultant; and a six-week educational session focused on enhancing communication style with Debbie Foster of Affinity Consulting Group. Program participants will have an assigned mentor for the first year and will be expected to assume a mentorship role to a future fellowship recipient in the second year of their fellowship.

These opportunities include an expectation of full engagement and participation by the fellowship recipient. After completion of the first year, fellows will have a formal check-in with Foundation Trustees to assess how they are developing in their leadership roles and with their mentors. If the first-year program requirements are met, a complimentary registration and travel stipend to the second year's Chapter Leadership Institute may be extended to recipients. In addition, the second year will help fellows continue their leadership path with the opportunity to participate in an additional interactive, leadership-based program.

Thank you to GLJ Benefit Consultants and Affinity Consulting Group for supporting this program!

Program Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this opportunity, applicants must:

  • Be an ALA member in good standing.
  • Demonstrate emerging leadership qualities as outlined here.
  • Include two references, each with a letter of recommendation, one of which must be from an ALA leader at the chapter or Association level.
  • Be willing to be interviewed by Foundation Trustees at the Foundation’s request.
  • Be able to commit to the two-year program, including projects as assigned by the leadership consultants and mentors, as well as mentor a future fellowship recipient the year after their fellowship.
  • Be able to attend the Chapter Leadership Institute for year one and potentially year two to participate in a live presentation at CLI conference in the second year.

Selection Process

  • Applications are submitted to ALA headquarters staff via an online form.
  • In order to avoid bias (conscious or implicit), ALA staff removes any identifying information from the applications, including the applicant’s name and contact information, the name of any educational institutions or employers, etc.
  • ALA headquarters sends the redacted applications to the Foundation Board of Trustees for review and consideration.
  • Only after the Foundation Board of Trustees have made their selections are full details of the applicant shared by ALA headquarters staff.
Congratulations to our 2023 fellows:
  • Ericka Brundage, Legal Assistant Support Manager at Merchant & Gould, PC
  • Joanna Hurt, Office Manager at McCarter & English, LLC

Learn more about the program from the 2019-2021 Fellowship recipients.